We get it. School vacation is intimidating for many parents. The kids will be home all week and in need of entertainment! Yikes. Well, we're here to help. We've rounded up more than 30 fun December break week activities for Long Island families—some FREE—from drop-in play to lingering holiday-themed events.
For most LI kids, holiday break runs from Monday, December 26 through Monday, January 2. For a full list of events and happenings on Long Island, check out our daily Events Calendar.
1. Visit Santa. All over Long Island, kids can visit and take pictures with Santa before he flies off for the season. From the Walt Whitman Mall to Hicks Nurseries, kids can meet Santa, get a keepsake photo, and enjoy all the magic the holiday season has to offer.
2. The Long Island Aquarium is the perfect place to visit during holiday break. Feed the otters, interact with insects, or just enjoy the gorgeous fish displays, the aquarium provides a full day of fun for everyone.
3. With rotating exhibits, there's always something new to see at the Long Island Children's Museum. A new show, Red Riding Hood, is even opening there right before holiday break begins.
4. The next day head next door to the Cradle of Aviation Museum. With an interactive play area, arcade "exhibit," and the historic Nunley Carousel, this museum has something for all ages.
Elwood Christmas Lights at 15 Mansfield Lane South in East Northport raises money for cancer awareness. Photo by Elwood Christmas Lights.
5. Throw the kids on the car, pack up some snacks, and hit the road to visit some of these spectacular home holiday light displays before they turn 'em off come the new year.
6. Lace up your skates to hit the ice at these year-round indoor rinks, or if the cool temps prevail, try an outdoor one like the one at Christopher Morely Park.
7. If you're looking for a little indoor fun for the whole family, hit the lanes...the bowling lanes! Check out these if you're in Nassau County, or these in Suffolk County. Some, like Bowlmor, have arcades and games for kids (and adults), as well.
8. Catch some children's theater. Many holiday shows continue into the break, including Elf Jr. the Musical, Holiday Spectacular on Ice, and Madeline's Christmas.
9. Suit up for a family swim session at these Long Island indoor pools.
10. Trains and the holidays go together like peanut butter and jelly. At least to most kids. Check out some of these model train exhibits for the locomotive-loving kid.
11. Visit Bayville Winter Wonderland and meet Santa, ride their holiday train, enjoy some arts and crafts, and check out the Arctic skating rink.
12. Bring out your child's creative side by building a gingerbread house, or join a local Kidville workshop to show you how to do it.
13. It's not just Christmas we're celebrating over holiday break. Enjoy the Festival of Lights all over Long Island, as well as Kwanzaa events.
14. Spread some holiday cheer by getting together with friends and caroling throughout the neighborhood.
See the funny and touching Sing. Photo courtesy of Universal Studios.
15. Head to the movies as new flicks open like Sing, a perfect choice for school-aged kids, Moana, too, or even Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, depending on the age of your kids.
16. Brrrr, baby it's cold outside. Warm up with some of the best hot cocoa spots on Long Island.
17. Set up a home-based art studio to try one of these boredom-busting crafts. If we get any snow, have kids scoop it up and experiment with food color dyes.
18. Need a break, or to get some work done? Sign the kids up for a mini camp like the one at the Center for Science Teaching and Learning or Abrakadoodle Art Studio. (Find many more holiday camps in our event calendar!)
19. Let kids blow off some steam with open play at both Le Play Cafe and KZAM (reserve ahead of time).
Check out the over-the-top Christmas decorations at the Biltmore. Photo courtesy of the estate.
20. Step back in history at Christmas at the Biltmore, where candlelight and firelight are reminiscent of the Vanderbilt's first Christmas there in 1895.
21. Head to Suffolk JCC for a full-slate of children's "Winter Recess" programming, from a Reptile Adventure to a field trip to Air Trampoline.
22. Libraries offer all kinds of fun and activities for kids during the holidays. The Oyster Bay Public Library, for example, offers movies, a Lego club, and a high-energy music class.
23. Visit The Whaling Museum and Education Center in Cold Spring Harbor, where kids can see the exhibits, join the new Star Warz scavenger hunt, or try out Ice Squad, the museum's two-day drop-off camp.
24. See this sweet puppet show about a Doubtful Sprout on New Year's Eve.
25. Day trip it into NYC for a show, a holiday windows walk, or one of these fun school break happenings or holiday happenings.
26. Check out a new-to-you play space or indoor kid sports zone by perusing our Indoor Family Fun Guide.
27. Game away the afternoon at these Long Island arcades with video games and more.
28. Bundle up to day trip it to a nearby snow tubing spot, or pretend it's summer and splash away at these indoor water parks.
29. Ring in the New Year with a kid-friendly countdown and family-friendly New Year's Eve activities at the Long Island Children's Museum, the Children's Museum of the East End, or even the Long Island Aquarium. (Find more New Year's Eve parties for families in our calendar.)
30. Still looking for something to do? Try checking off one of your bucket list items from our top 100 Things to Do on Long Island with Kids.
Top photo: Take a spin on the Nunley Carousel at the Cradle of Aviation museum. Photo by Lisa Malek via Instagram.